We visit Fumiko at her beautiful Brownstone artist residence in Harlem, New York, where she splits her time between creating artworks and teaching Printmaking classes. Her studio also doubles up as her home, a setup that is completely in tandem with her effervescent and friendly disposition. As classical music echoes throughout the house, we sit on the floor and chat over tea.
ARTIST: FUMIKO TODA
Japanese artist Fumiko Toda grew up in a countryside in Japan. Feeling alienated, lonely and oppressed by Japan’s rigid school system, the young Toda often escaped to a nearby pond where she would observe insects and bugs for hours. These tiny creatures eventually worked their way into her artwork, where they remain to this day. She eventually studied at the Sugii Art Institution in Mie, and graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2000.
IN THE STUDIO
A BUG’S LIFE WITH FUMIKO TODA
The beauty of Printmaking is in its processes, where there is an element of surprise with the various processes because sometimes you never know what you’re going to create, and what the finished product will look like. It forces me to adapt and evolve, and enhances my ability to think about each process. I also love the fact that I am able to play with many different materials like chine- colle, which not only creates depth but also texture.
Share with us your obsession with animals.
Growing up in the Japanese countryside, I was surrounded by nature all the time. Perhaps that’s also where I fell in love with colours, patterns, and textures. Having lived in New York for so long now, every canvas acts almost like a frame of mind- my urban escape, my childhood, my love for nature- all rolled into one.
If you weren’t an artist, you would be…
A musician. I have always been fascinated with music, and I try to include it in my daily life. Music allows me to be better in touch with my emotions, my sensitivities, and to a large extent, it creates a flow of energy within me as I work. I also play the flute on occasion, and that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to becoming a musician!